Skip to main content

Full text of "Alaskan glacier studies of the National Geographic Society in the Yakutat Bay, Prince William Sound and lower Copper River regions"

See other formats

COLUMBIA GLACIER                                      259
As stated in the preceding chapter Petroff's account,1 thought to be from observations by some of the Russians and describing a great ice front in Port Valdez, may refer to the Columbia instead of the Valdez Glacier, for he mentions glacieis in Port Wells and Port Fidalgo but none in Columbia Bay.
Columbia Glacier was visited in 1898 by Capt. A. O. Johansen in the steamship Dora and a sounding of 50 fathoms was made near the ice front.
In 1899 the Harriman Expedition visited Columbia Bay and named and described the glacier,2 Dr. G. K. Gilbert stayed there from June 25 to 28, studying the glacier, making the map here reproduced, and taking a number of photographs which have had great value in subsequent studies. His is the first and best scientific description of this ice tongue.8 He found evidence of an advance in 1892. The proofs of this, and Gilbert's description of conditions in 1899, will be referred to repeatedly in the following pages.
In 1902 the steamship Bertha went within 300 yards of the ice front, and other steamships have visited Columbia Glacier in recent years.4
In 1905 a U. S. Geological Survey expedition in charge of Prof. TL S. Grant visited Columbia Glacier, and photographs were taken from the sites of some of Gilbert's photographs in 1899. Other photographs were taken from the same sites by Grant and Higgins in 1908 and in June, 1909, when the glacier was studied and the ice front mapped. The full report upon this work has not yet been published B but the abstracts 6 and photographs show that they observed a continuation of retreat here between 1899 and 1905, a slight advance between 1905 and 1908, and a greater advance in 1908 and 1909.
The National Geographic Society's expeditions have made four visits to Columbia Glacier, August 21 to 25, 1909, June 29 to July 11, 1910, September 5 to 6, 1910, and June 21, 1911. During 1909 and 1910 the glacier was still advancing, as evidenced by the deep thundering noise of the straining glacier, as well as by the lighter crash of ice masses sliding down the terminus and by changes along the terminus and margins of the glacier. We took photographs from several of the stations occupied by Gilbert, Curtis (photographer of the Harriman Expedition) and Grant, and observed a marked continuation of the advance seen by Grant, besides making soundings throughout Columbia Bay.
Our preliminary descriptions of Columbia Glacier have been published as follows:7
Our topographer, Mr. Lewis, has made the large scale contour map reproduced as
i Petroff, Ivan, Tenth Census of the United States, 1880, Vol. Vm, 1884, p. 27.
* Burroughs, John, Harriman Alaska Expedition, Vol. 1,1901, pp. 66-68.
1 Gilbert, G. K., Harriman Alaska Expedition, Vol. TIT, Glaciers and Glaciation, 1904, pp. 71-81. < Higginson, Ella, Alaska, The Great Country, New York, 1908, pp. 257-259. Greely, A. W., Handbook of Alaska, New York, 1909, pp. 156-168.
 Grant, U. S., Tidewater Glacieis of Prince William Sound and Kenai Peninsula, Bull. U. S. Geol. Survey. (In preparation.)
 In H. P. Reid's Variations of Glaciers, Joum. Geol., Vol. X3V, 1906, pp. 406-7; Vol. XVH, 1909, p. 670. Grant, U. S. and Higgins, D. F., Glaciers of the Northern Part of Prince William Sound, Bull. Amer. Geog.
Soc., Vol. XLH, 1910, pp. 727-735.
' Tarr, R. S. and Martin, Lawrence, National Geographic Society's Alaskan Expedition of 1909, Nat. Geog. Mag., Vol. XXI, 1910, pp. 9-10, IS, 30-83,37,58.
Martin, Lawrence, The National Geographic Society Researches in Alaska, Nat. Geog. Mag., Vol. XXII, 1911, pp. 548-553; Columbia Glacier, Alaska's Typical Ice Tongue, American Review of Reviews, Vol. XLEV, 1911, pp. 69-75; Two Glaciers in Alaska, Bull. Geol. Soc. Amer., Vol. 22, 1911, p. 731.